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Old 07-10-2011, 04:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default DIY Wire Harness Restore/Tuck Under $50

This is a basic DIY to restore/tuck your engine wire harness for cheap, I put as much info as I could, but it's not perfect. Your stock wire harness is about 20 years old, and has cracks and broken wires. This can cause poor performance, CEL's, starting problems, and alot more drivabilty problems. This was my problem, I did a basic tuck with my stock wire harness but since it was so old I had high restistance in the wires and caused wrong sensor values. The thing with wiring is that people are afraid of it, and will fork over hundreds of dollars for something that they could do for under $50. This is my 91 crx that is OBD0 so alot of the wires will be different, but the same basic principals. This will take a good few days to complete, so if this is your daily driver plan accordingly.


One of the first things is plan out what you want to do? Do you want to do a major tuck? Something that is good enough for a stock car? Also, decide how you want to do the firewall connector, you can do what I did and just have straight wires with no connector (just unplug each connector on engine to remove), or use OEM connectors or get a baller Mil-spec connector. Also, do you want to redo the wiring just in the engine compartment or also under the dash to the ECU.

You will need good wiring diagrams, you will need some for the exact year and model/sub-model because they are different. If you don't have any or just have crappy chilton's wiring diagrams then you will be scratching your head and be in trouble. Here is a good one I use for my crx, also autozone has online manuals that have good wiring diagrams.





Quick lesson on wires: There are two types of copper wires, solid and stranded. Solid is meant for houses and isn't flexable and will cause problems with our DC current (I've seen solid wire used in some hacked up cars before...not good). Okay? Get some stranded wire, the more strandes the better, because the electrons like to be on top of the wire so the more strandes you have the better the current flows (this isn't the exact scientific wording, but you get the idea). On most of the wiring harness in our Honda's we have 16-22 gauge (18 gauge is what 90% of the wire harness is), there is 14 gauge wires for the alternator wires and 12 gauge for starter solenoid and distributor power. Using the incorrect wire can cause false reading, circuit damage, and fire! If you keep the same gauge wire in the circuit it won't be a problem. The wire I used was the Summit racing wire (link below), they have a few different colors and comes in 100 foot rolls (I got one 100 foot roll of 18 gauge, which was more than enough). Here is a picture of a good wire, and a poor wire I would not use (they are different gauge wires, but you get the idea)





Next thing you will need is something to wrap the wires in. Alot of people use electrical tape and wire looms, but those don't look good and electrical tape losses it's adhesive properties over time and will peel off. The solution....heat shrink. Slip it over the wires, heat gun it, and you get a clean no seam look and it will never peel off or break. Over the years I realized that almost all heat shrink is created equal, the ebay stuff is just as good as the stuff you will spend 5x as much at NAPA or Autozone. The really cheap ebay stuff, like under a dollar for a couple feet is fairly thin so I don't use it. This is what I used below, this stuff is my favorite. I ordered 10 feet of 1", 1/2" and 1/4", I ended up running out of 1/4" and 1/2" so 20 feet would of been better. Also the 1" is for the big bundle of wires, I would recommmend 1" - 2" because 1" was a tight fit and you might have more wires than me. Heat shrink has a 2:1 ratio so a 1" piece will shrink to 1/2", maybe a little less.


First take your stock wire harness off, and just lay it on the ground. The stock wire harness will come out of grommets in the firewall (rubber seals), there will be one or two on the passenger side and one on the driver's side. The passenger side has most of the wires from the ECU, and all the lighting/horn for that side on a different grommet (or the same one sometimes), the driver's side has a few wires that go to the ECU, like injectors, resistor box power, and it also has the driver's side lighting/washer/and other accessories. These are just general things, your car might be different. So now what do you want to do, do you want to just keep the OEM connectors and redo the engine harness? Or get a new connector? What I did was just have no connectors, it just goes straight from the ECU or underdash wire harness to the engine, is this not the best idea for some of you. I just got feed up with the OEM connectors breaking and being a pain to disconnect, I didn't have the money for a mil-spec connector so I did this. If you need to take the engine out just disconnect all the sensor wires and pull it all away. If you are just going to redo the engine compartment harness and leave everything else, this will be alot easier.

The easiest way to tuck a wire harness is to find the path of least travel, on stock honda's they have the connectors on the strut towers, so you have about 2 feet of unnecessary wiring, you can have the connectors be located under the intake manifold to hide them or just have them next to the rear engine mount/transmission for easy access. Next, get the stock harness and a continuity tester (most multi-meters have them) and go from each main connector and find where the wire goes. You put one end on one of the pins and search around, say it goes to the distributor power, then you mark that on a piece of paper and do the same for the rest so later you won't get confused. You have to take the time to draw out how you are going to route the wires, like I did below. Get an idea where all the sensors/components are on the engine, so you can have all the wires that are on the distributor side all in one bundle. I'm going to show the way I did it, but the rest basically applies to this route.

I had problems with my injector wiring, and multiple sensors like the TPS and MAP having high resistance in the wiring. I decide to start fresh with a new wire from the ECU to the component. What I needed was one of my many wiring diagrams of the ECU connectors. I first started off by going through each ECU connector and seeing if there was any wiring I didn't need. My CRX is a HF, which came with A/C but mine didn't have it, so honda puts the wires there anyway incase you want to add it. So I just cut those wires and pull them out (if you just cut them and leave them then just make the bundle bigger and make this process harder with trying to find certain wires. I took out wires for the A/C, EGR, Purge solenoid (emissions crap I don't have anymore), and you are left with what you need. The next step is to measure all the wire lengths, for example I was going to redo my injector wiring from the ECU to the injectors them self. If you have your plan draw out like above, you can measure from the firewall, through the route the wires will take to the injectors, write that down, also measure from the firewall to the ECU connector. Add those two together and add a few extra inches for error. This is what I did below. Get all the wire lengths written down.


Next step is to start installing wires, I first started with the injector wires, and one at a time cut the wire to the length, attached it to the ECU pin, ran it through the firewall and labeled it. You need to label each wire, or else when you are done you won't know where any of them go! What I did was get a little masking tape and give each one a number, and write it down on a piece of paper. You just keep doing this for each one. The wires I ran from the ECU connectors to the engine were the: injectors, distributor sensors (crank, cyl, TDC), TPS, MAP, IAT, ECT, and some of the grounds. I left some of the other wires and just attached them where the wires come out of the firewall. Not all the wires at the under dash/firewall are engine components from the ECU, alot of the wires are for the lighting, horn, and some are wires from else where like the tach, starter solenoid, etc... The best thing to do is separate all these wires so you don't get confused. I just zip tied them in a bundle. You should mark them before you start cutting. The first thing I did was the engine compartment fuse box, I moved it under my dash by the ECU, so I just pull the wires down and connect them to the fuse box as shown below.



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Old 07-10-2011, 04:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Next I did the wiper motor, there is 5 wires and I had to extend them. I ran them through a separate grommet in the firewall so later if I have problems I don't have to cut open the big bundle of wires just to find them. You can do this however you want, I just wanted to make them more accessable instead of a clean look. What I did was run all the wires out, put the heat shrink on, then connect each wire, put the heat shrink over each wire, heat it up and then pull the long heat shrink over it all (I used the 1/2" about 1.5 feet), here is how it looks: I had the ground wire just go straight to a ground I made on the chassis, because the shorter the ground wire the better.








Next I did the lighting and horn wiring, also the cooling fan wires go in this bundle. What I did was run the wires under the mount and frame rail and put in the air box area. I slide some 1/2" heat strink on it and then started connecting each wire, and then heat shrink each connector end. And just like above pull the 1/2" heat shrink over the bundle and shrink it down, and that is it. The rest of the wires are for the engine, so that makes it easier.

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Old 07-10-2011, 04:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Here is how I connect two wires, strip the insulation off about 1/2" each end, and twist both wires together nice and tight. Then rotate the wires around to make almost a knot, if you did it right as you pull the wire apart it will get tighter. This won't make the electricity flow through the knot, it flows through the least distance, so it's like the knot isn't even there. Some of you might say this isn't a good way and soldering is the best. I don't disagree with you, but I also don't agree with you. Alot of people will solder wires and do a poor job, causing them to pull apart easily. Also, soldering each wire (especially a small wire) can get really annoying and take longer. I put my way to the test: I got three 2 foot wires, one was all in one piece, and the other two were cut at 1 foot and spliced back together, one way was soldered one was my knot way. I checked the resistance, all were about 0-0.1 ohms, then I put them in a circuit, and all three had close to no voltage drop and the same amperage. I then put each wire under high amperage and all failed at about the same amperage in the same time. Both wouldn't pull apart or break, but eventually did when I pulled them extremely hard.





Why I love Honda? If you notice all the wires on a honda are not the same, there might be 2 yellow/white wires, but either one will be larger or smaller gauge than the other, or honda put marks on the wire. They put a silver mark every inch, or they put (2) silver marks, or they put a different color so you never mix up any wires. Also, alot of the ground and power wires are all the same color, for example for the IACV, lighting system, there is a black/yellow wire and it's power from the engine fuse box. That way you know it's the same power from the same place, no guessing. That is why I love Honda!


You will notice that on the distributor wiring and O2 sensor wiring there is a cover over the wires for most of the wire harness, cut it open and you will see some silver wire wrapped around it. This is shielding wire, which is grounded from the ECU, and keeps the delicate signals from those sensors undisturbed. Another tip is that the ground for the TPS, ECT, IAT, and maybe some other ones, is one wire from the ECU that gets branched off to those sensors. I believe I said this above but I'll say it again, on the stock wire harness you will notice that some wires go from 18 gauge to 14 or 12 gauge, normally this is bad, but Honda did it from the factory so I won't argue. Just follow the same gauge wires the the stock wire harness is.

Make a checklist with all of the wires and as you run them through the firewall (through the OEM Grommet or how ever you decided to do it). Once you think you have them all stop for a minute and look and every sensor and component on the engine and see if you have that wire ran. I didn't do this because I was in a hurry and forgot the tach and my water temp sending unit. Once you have them all, look at how you decided to route them, what I did was route my alternator, my oil/fuel pressure sending units and the OEM oil pressure sending unit out to the side. I then had the main bundle run out to the thermostat housing, so I got some of the 1 inch heat shrink cut it to about the distance and started sliding it over all the wires. The easiest way is to get some zip ties and tie the whole bundle together, and slide the heat shrink over then cut the zip ties when you get the heat shrink to where you need it. If you don't the wires will get bunched up as you put it on the wires. Also, go slow so the masking tape numbers don't get knocked off (it's a real pain in the ass to try to figure what wire that is).








Next, you can depin the connector and take the wires out with the terminal, pull the pieces of metal away and slipe your new wire in instead. This doesn't always work out, just have a plug for each component and leave about 2" of wire. I took some injector plugs from an acura legend wire harness because my were cracked and the legend ones were black and look so much better.
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Old 07-10-2011, 04:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Once you got the main bundle all shrunk down, follow the route you decided on. I had all the intake manifold sensors/injectors in one bundle going to the passenger side and the rest going toward the distributor and front of the car. I was in a hurry and I had the bundle where all the coolant hoses going around the thermostat housing so it's just a big mess, I would have just pulled it off and moved it under the thermostat housing, but I was in a hurry...that is what sucks about a daily driver. Get it to where you like the way it looks, then pull each wire out and put it by the sensor it's going to, like move all the distributor wires together. Slide the heat shrink over the bundle, and make a little cut out in the heat shrink and run the wires out so you have one continuous piece of heat shrink and it gives a clean look. Then you start on one thing at the time, say the distributor wiring, put some 1/2" heat shrink on the bundle and some of the 1/4" for each wire, then solder/attach each wire to the pull and just pull the heat shrink over each wire, then the bundle and that's it.




You might need to trim some wires lengths and sometimes you screw up and make it too short. The best thing is to have one continuous piece of wire without it being spliced in the middle, but sometimes you don't have a choice. Sometimes you will route wires, and it looks fine until you attach it to the plug and stand back. You can always depin the plug and cut/reroute the bundle of wires. Just take your time and if you screw up, you can always fix it.

Someother tips are: the injector wiring usually goes from the ECU, toward the driver's side through the firewall then to the injectors. This is about 2 feet of unnecessary wiring, I just ran it out from the passenger side, toward the injectors. Another thing if you are looking for a tucked engine bay, you can put the fuel injector resistor box (if you have one), MAP sensor, and IACV under the intake manifold like I did below. This way the wires are shorter and it looks better. I'm going to post up a DIY on the IACV relocation also. The best advice I can give you is do one wire at the time and plan out everything, then you won't have any problems. I was in a hurry, so my wire harness isn't exactly what I wanted but I can easily move it around later and put some more heat shrink on it (I ran out so I had to use the nasty electrical tape). Some of the wires you see in the picture that aren't heat shrinked or covered up are just temporary until I get my battery relocated to the rear (that will clean things up alot). Last thing is to turn the key to on and see if everything still works, for me the headlight wasn't working but I just forgot to plug it back in. Started it up and it was perfect, no CEL's and good to roll.

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Old 07-10-2011, 04:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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After reading this, should you go out and rip your stock harness out...no! This takes time and you need to make sure you have enough of everything. Also you need some good wiring diagrams or you won't have any clue what you are doing. After you are done, you feel good because you made it and I also noticed that my car ran alot smoother. I'm sure I probably missed something, so if you have any questions just let me know.








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Old 07-10-2011, 04:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Here is a summary of what I spent:

$25 shipped for 100 feet 18 gauge wire from Summit
$15 shipped for heat shrink 10 feet (1", 1/2", 1/4")
$7 shipped for 10 feet 14 gauge wire
Everything else I had lying around.
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Old 07-10-2011, 05:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I applaud your efforts, but it drives me insane trying to troubleshoot a wiring harness where someone has used a ton of wire that is the same color.

I prefer to use a Western Union style splice when joining two wires inline before soldering them.

Heat shrink is just about the only way to properly insulate connections with any sort of longevity.
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Old 07-10-2011, 05:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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nice diy im about to start a tuck on my hatch +rep
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Old 07-10-2011, 05:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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wow good job but i don't think i would try this i don't no nothing about wiring. and think i would mess something up

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Old 07-10-2011, 05:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snm95ls View Post
I applaud your efforts, but it drives me insane trying to troubleshoot a wiring harness where someone has used a ton of wire that is the same color.

I prefer to use a Western Union style splice when joining two wires inline before soldering them.

Heat shrink is just about the only way to properly insulate connections with any sort of longevity.
Yeah, I agree with not using the same color, but that is why I used the same wires on the connectors, so I can tell on the ends. This is all new wires so it should last a long time and I shouldn't need to diagnose for a long time. If I could find brand new wire in all the original colors I would, but I just couldn't do that. I agree heat shrink is the best, electrical tape leaves a mess and I've seen it wear down and cause short circuiting.

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wow good job but i don't think i would try this i don't no nothing about wiring. and think i would mess something up

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Old 07-13-2011, 09:21 PM   #11 (permalink)
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So you didn't use the stock shock tower plugs? Just bypassed it from the sensors straight to the ecu?
Wouldnt of it been easier just relocating the shock tower plugs to the cabin and extending wires from there?
I'm gonna start on mine and after readin countless diy I'm still a little confused on this lol
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Old 07-13-2011, 09:31 PM   #12 (permalink)
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my favorite connector in the world:



Probibally the most expensive on in the world as well...
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Old 07-13-2011, 09:35 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Nice write up. My solution is grabbing a honda harness from the junk yard so i can keep the color codes the same and just lengthening to spec. Also, removing the shock tower harness connectors will make it more difficult to remove a motor seeing as you have to unplug every thing instead of just the main plugs. Anyways great write up. Rep'd
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Old 07-13-2011, 09:36 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MileHighEF8 View Post
So you didn't use the stock shock tower plugs? Just bypassed it from the sensors straight to the ecu?
Wouldnt of it been easier just relocating the shock tower plugs to the cabin and extending wires from there?
I'm gonna start on mine and after readin countless diy I'm still a little confused on this lol
No leaving the connectors in the cabin would not be easier. COme engine removal time you unplug everything and pull.
Its really not as hard as everyone thinks.
Just have a good labeling system
Take your time
& wire shit right (good wire,solder,heat shrink)
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Hello noob meet.....Google

Last edited by Egwhite; 07-13-2011 at 09:37 PM. Reason: CUZ
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Old 07-13-2011, 09:50 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by CaliLegal View Post
Nice write up. My solution is grabbing a honda harness from the junk yard so i can keep the color codes the same and just lengthening to spec. Also, removing the shock tower harness connectors will make it more difficult to remove a motor seeing as you have to unplug every thing instead of just the main plugs. Anyways great write up. Rep'd
Quote:
Originally Posted by Egwhite View Post
No leaving the connectors in the cabin would not be easier. COme engine removal time you unplug everything and pull.
Its really not as hard as everyone thinks.
Just have a good labeling system
Take your time
& wire shit right (good wire,solder,heat shrink)
So.. which is better? I would think the shock tower plugs relocated since theyre in the cabin you just unplug, push through firewall, and remove engine when your going to remove said engine..
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Old 07-14-2011, 04:05 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by MileHighEF8 View Post
So.. which is better? I would think the shock tower plugs relocated since theyre in the cabin you just unplug, push through firewall, and remove engine when your going to remove said engine..
Go baller with MilSpec



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Old 07-14-2011, 06:38 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Nice write up!
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Old 07-14-2011, 06:40 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Well let me make it clear, I would have used all the same wire colors as stock, but our cars are 20 years old. The wires get hard and brittle, break, cause high resistance. I was getting weird TPS and Sensor readings so I couldn't even tune my car! I left the OEM colors on the end of each plug, and I know the wiring in these cars like the back of my hand so it's not a problem.

I didn't use the OEM connectors because they were broken on mine and are just a pain in the ass to get apart sometimes. A few days ago I timed my self unpluging all the engine plugs and pull the wire harness away from the engine (like I was taking the engine out), and it took me a little under 3 minutes. I would have just bought a Mil-spec connector, but honestly couldn't even find one under $150, I asked around for weeks and either they were out of stock or nobody had any for sale.

Thanks for all the comments guys, I really just made this thread so that people see that wiring isn't so hard. You can do your wiring harness over 10 different ways it's up to you how you want to do it, this was just how I did it. Rep'd back to all.


Hey, l337h4l where did you get those mil-spec connectors from?
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Last edited by ZCHONDACRX91; 07-14-2011 at 06:42 AM.
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Old 07-14-2011, 07:58 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cervan View Post
my favorite connector in the world:



Probibally the most expensive on in the world as well...

Deutch, Have them all in the shop for free.

Good write up,
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:59 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Got my connectors from work they were throwing them away LOL... I am looking for more
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